Posted in Birds and other fun topics

Winter Wind Dancing

Wind brings out a rhythm on the water. It hums and flows in and out to a beat that all creatures cannot resist. At Ocean View Beach she was singing up a storm.

WA State Ferry and Gulls dance on the Salish Sea

A Washington State Ferry from Vashon to Fauntleroy is the first to show her stuff. She was riding high on the surging inland sea of Puget Sound. The gulls are dancing along with her as she heads into port. What I like about this video is how it shows the dynamic of wind and surf. Add to that the sun came out to make the blue waters sparkle with excitement.

Then there were the gulls. At first I ignored them looking for the crow murder. They were a no show, which means they missed out on the good times that the gulls were having.

Flying high in the wind
Beach audience cheers on the wind dancers
Gulls tempting the waves to get them!

The poor gulls asked me to make them stars of a video. Here they are in the starring role dancing and interacting with nature on this blustery winter day. The crows never showed their faces. Could it be they were ashamed?

Batgurrl had a story to tell too. She got to the end of the open beach and found a blue tarp stuck on the driftwood. This kind of rope and tarp is a danger to all the wildlife. From birds to orcas to seals to otters this is not a good thing to be hanging out in the surf.

Blue Tarp just daring me to remove it

Wish I had a knife to cut the rope that made it so hung up.

However, I did overcome that and was able between surf surges to rip it off the snags. Then I drug it down the beach to the staircase where I was able to secure it next to the storage area there. Mission accomplished!

At the end of my walk just down the street from our home are three rhododendron bushes that are early risers. Not uncommon for them to bloom in late January in all their pale pink glory.

Pink sparkle to chase the winter away

The sun had come out and they were dancing in the wind just like the ferry, gulls and Batgurrl.

Posted in Crows at the Beach

the Zoo at the Beach

Nature and walking…. ahhhh it is so good for you. Get some exercise, therapy for your over active technology brain and open yourself to the worldwide zoo.

So… I went to the beach.  My beach to be exact where there is no one but me and the critters.

Top of my zoo list… can you guess?  CROWS

My Follower was back hovering as I wandered down the beach. He really just wants a peanut but I pretend he likes me. The truth is he is smarter than most and has me bamboozled.  Hah!! Crow Stalker is stalked.

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My Follower – he never forgets me
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Crows love the beach

Then there are the seagulls. They are just always there. I often talk smack about them but there are gull lovers out there and of course their mothers loved them at some time. I say that with a little humor cause if you have ever heard a baby gull cry for food, you will know the parents do practice tough love on their children. Feed them to a point and then do the shunning routine.

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Gull trots along in surf

So.. here I am walking along the beach relishing in the waves and birds. The trail had lots of beauty to share in the madrona forest but the beach was the place to be.

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Fall beauty on the trail
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Madrona bark all copper and cream

I approached the built up area called a marine residence. Since this is a private beach for the community the owner family doesn’t seem to care that we all use their built up platform, tables and swing to enjoy the view and nature that abounds down here.

That was when I heard feet on a wooden floor. To my delight that pair of otters I encountered last week was up in the marine residence too. They had heard me crunching on the gravel beach approaching from the north. Off they went into the surf and watched me for a while before doing a little fishing.

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River Otter pair scamper across beach
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Otters float off into sound as they watch me.
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Otter pair swim off to fish

My trip to the beach is never done until I walk down to the south end. There one can see a landslide in progress. In progress is an odd way of describing something that has been going on for 20 years or more. Today I discovered that a new chunk of trees and sand had slid down. The beach driftwood and bank was changed quite a bit by this newest slide. Yikes to live up at the top must be a nail bitter. They are betting that in their lifetime the bank will hold.

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Landslide grew – all this tree debris is new
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At the top there are houses there.

Time to go home and I turned around to the north. That was when I saw the kingfisher doing his hover over the sound. He flew down to what I call the nursery tree (the crows use it to teach their babies about the beach and life).

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Kingfisher perches on tree watching for a snack

Not only was there wildlife on the beach but also a veiew of the marine traffic. Today it was a barge over flowing with recycling or is it garbage? Not the usual cleaner looking container ships that I see. Check it out.

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Tug pulling overflowing barge.
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What is this barge full of?

Then as I turned north I saw them. The otters were coming back up on the beach to eat their fish. This pair must be staking out some new territory. Are they going to build a den around the marine residence? Remember their host family over on Seola Drive have tried to bar them out. They must have finally said OUT!!  You STINK too MUCH!!

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Otter eats fish on beach

The pair kept going in and out of the water. They liked the spot where one ate the fish and in this video check that place out before heading into the driftwood.

I am going to leave you with one more zoo activity…. walking on logs. These two river otters proceed to use the driftwood to scamper up towards the marine residence.  Talk about clever.

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Posted in Crows at the Beach

Crow and Gull Big Feed

Tide was out today during my visit to the beach.  Not a seriously low one (only about -1) but low enough that there was some space between the waves and the driftwood that was kicked up recently.  Before we talk about the Big Feed, I want to alert everyone that next week is a King High Tide weekend.   The Washington State Dept of Ecology is collecting photos of this tide to help determine what low land flooding could look in the future.   In preparation of that  last weekend, I started taking photos of our beach’s normal high tide.  I did an article about the King Tide months ago.  It was more related to the low tide that followed it but here is the link if you wish to read up.  http://wp.me/p1d1cX-2s

On to the Big Feed.   This week I was joined by about 40 crows and a small family of seagulls.   The gulls that frequent the area are the very common Glaucous-Winged Gulls.   The juveniles have a darker grey plumage and don’t get the full adult white and grey appearance for 4 years.    The attached video will show you how crazy it gets when I feed the group bread.   The Gulls are bullies to not only the Crows but to their own young.  At about the half way point I ran them off and you will also see how the adults are picking on the juvenile.   No respect within that family when it comes to a hand out.   However, I do not feel bad for the babies.  During the summer months you will see what a nuisance they become to their parents.  They cry and cry.  Enough to drive any mother crazy.

Update on some other birds:

The Pilated Woodpecker was on a power pole across from the gate to the beach trail.  I noticed or rather heard him drumming away.   He was marking his territory and I assume he is the same one I saw a few weeks ago.

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Pilated Woodpecker on power pole.

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Vision of Woody Woodpecker smiling?

The Crows at Costco remembered me.  When David & I got back into our car Saturday there they were staring right at me.  Where is the hand out they were saying.   I found an old granola bar in the glovebox and crumbled that up for them.  One of them was so brave he swooped down while I was standing only 5 feet away.  The Gulls were there too but the crows beat them out.

Lastly, this weekend I saw Robins flying in packs around the neighborhood.   Here is a picture of them in a fir tree.   I used to think they were a bird of summer up here but now that I pay attention I have noticed they are around all year.   Just a little less prevalent and my bird book says they are different birds than the summer ones. They do some odd seasonal migrations.

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Flock of Robins all in a row on a fir tree